Morphology and coexistence of congeneric ectoparasite species: reinforcement of reproductive isolation?
|Year of publication||2002|
|Type||Article in Periodical|
|Magazine / Source||Biological Journal of the Linnean Society|
|MU Faculty or unit|
|Keywords||competition; host specfificity; morhometric distances; niche segregation; reproductive barriers|
|Description||Assuming that differences or similarities in morphology among congeneric parasite species living in the same habitat are not a random pattern, several hypotheses were tested: (i) reproductive isolation, (ii) niche restriction resulting from competition, (iii) niche specialization. Congeneric monogeneans parasitizing the gills of one host species were used as an ecological model. Our results support the prediction that the function on niche segregation is to achieve reproductive isolation of related species in order to prevent hybridization. Species coexistence is facilitated by an increase in morphometric distances of copulatory organ and niche centre distances. Moreover, our results also show that species living in overlapping niches have similar attachment organs, which supports the prediction that morphologically similar species have the same ecological requirements within one host and suggests small effects of interspecific competition for coexistence and affect the niche distribution within host species. Specialist adaptations facilitate species coexistence and affect the niche distribution within host species.|